Basic Beliefs

There are two main sources for religious truth claims within Islam – the Qur’an and hadith. The Qur’an is the final revelation from God; it is the word of God. The corpus of hadith literature contains the sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh); this is known as his Sunnah (Practice).

The Qur’an teaches the concept of Tawhid, the unity of God (Surah 112:1-4), that the whole of creation with the exception of human beings is in a state of submission (Islam) to God. To realize our fullest potential as God’s vicegerents on earth (khalifah), we must follow His guidance relating to every facet of our lives.

As an expression of His love and compassion He sent Prophets and Messengers (Surah 16:36) to remind humanity of the Unity of God and to remind them of their purpose in creation.

The Qur’anic teachings place great emphasis upon social justice and the striving towards the creation of a just society (Surahs 5:8, 6:162-164). God’s justice is inescapable and human beings are reminded continuously of accountability to God on the Day of Judgment (Surah 17:13-14). For Muslims, the Prophet is the Insan-i-Kamil, the Perfect Human being, and therefore must be emulated, and the seminal community of Muslims established in al-Madinah is the paradigm community.

The central beliefs and teachings of Islam are contained in a famous hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) called the hadith of Jibra’il, in which he defined Islam as constituting three dimensions – Islam, Iman and Ihsan. Islam is to testify there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (pbuh) is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the Salah, to give Zakah, to fast in the month of Ramadan, and to perform the Hajj, if one is able to. Iman or faith is defined as belief in Allah, His angels, His Revealed Books, His Messengers, the Day of Judgement, and in destiny, both the good and the evil. Ihsan or perfection of faith is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, know that He sees you.

Islam is one of the Abrahamic faiths and maybe referred to as a cousin faith of both Christianity and Judaism. The central difference between Christianity and Islam is their conceptions of God. Christianity proclaims a Trinitarian nature of God and Jesus as the Son of God. Whereas for Muslims Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the final Messenger of Allah and therefore the Qur’an is the last and final revelation of Allah and His word. Allah is One, He neither begets nor is begotten (Surah 112) and is nothing like His creation (Surah 42:11). For Jews, Moses is the human receptacle through whom God reveals Himself and His law.

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